Iron Precipitate - Fertilizing - Aquatic Plant Central

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Old 11-30-2019, 07:21 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Iron Precipitate

I am having an awful time with what I am assuming is iron precipitate. Everything in the tank has a red powder on it. It's not brown like diatoms. It is orange-redish. I can wipe it off and it is all right back in a matter of an hour. I am using Aquaclear 50 filters and I have white polishing pads on top as the last media it goes through before re-entering the tank. Every day I squeeze/rinse out the pads and they are solid dark red. When I wipe it off, it is a powder or extremely fine grain material.

So, here is my question. We have a ridiculous amount of iron in our well water. I have tried filters and they don't work. I can't afford a whole house system. When I dose my PPS macros, am I causing the precipitate due to the phosphorus in the mix? It is reacting with the iron in the water?

This happened the last time I had aquariums and I got so disgusted, I sold them all and got out of the hobby. This tank has been set up for a few months is doing great otherwise. But, I'm about to throw in the towel again. It just looks like crap I have to clean it off of the plants and driftwood every day. The gravel also gets covered with it. To control that, I would have to do a major water change/cleaning every day.

HELP!!!
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Old 11-30-2019, 08:25 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Iron Precipitate

I was going to say it isn't likely to be iron, but then I googled and found that Fe2O3, red ochre, is a common mineral. If you have some KH2PO4, mono potassium phosphate which is the cheap chemical we use to dose phosphate, you could mix a pinch of it in a tube of tap water and see if you get a red precipitate.
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Old 11-30-2019, 08:44 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Iron Precipitate

Thanks Hoppy. I'll try the test and see what happens.
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Old 11-30-2019, 09:52 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Iron Precipitate

I have a house carbon filter only for the the aquarium instead of the main line. It removes chlorine too.
It's not that expensive. The carbon filter is $10, and the duel housing is only $30 on ebay. I change the carbon every year.
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Old 11-30-2019, 02:49 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Iron Precipitate

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I have a house carbon filter only for the the aquarium instead of the main line. It removes chlorine too.
It's not that expensive. The carbon filter is $10, and the duel housing is only $30 on ebay. I change the carbon every year.
Or, if money isn't a problem, you can get a reverse osmosis/deionizing "filter" and use it to make water for the aquarium. https://www.amazon.com/Aquatic-Life-...154055&sr=8-12
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Old 12-02-2019, 07:32 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Iron Precipitate

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Originally Posted by hoppycalif View Post
Or, if money isn't a problem, you can get a reverse osmosis/deionizing "filter" and use it to make water for the aquarium. https://www.amazon.com/Aquatic-Life-...154055&sr=8-12
An RO system has some downsides. The output rate is pretty low so it's best to store RO water in a container. It also creates waste water, about 2/3.

It is necessary if you have hard water and want soft water to keep most soft water tropical fish & plants.
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Old 12-02-2019, 06:17 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Iron Precipitate

Thanks for the comments. I tried the test with the phosphate and have gotten no precipitate. I don't think it is iron. Today I noticed some hairs growing on the driftwood that hasn't been there. In the driftwood photo, the particles in the water is from me picking up the filter pad to photograph it. So I'm going to post some photos of the problem and see if that spurs any ideas of what it is and what to do about it. Keep in mind, my tank is not just dirty. I did a full cleaning yesterday with a python and wiped the powder off of everything in the tank. Also cleaned the filters. It takes about 24 hours and the tank is right back like this after cleaning it. The filter pad is about 3 days old. Every tank I have had in this house does this. I assumed it was iron because the toilet bowl gets red stains from the well water. When we lived in the city, I never had any of this and I haven't changed anything I'm doing.

I'm not over feeding. I have two quarter sized angels and a clown pleco in the tank. I put a very small pinch of flakes (3 or 4 small flakes) in for the angels. They eat most of it on the way down to the gravel and then I watch them scour the bottom to get any scraps (if any). I put an algae wafer in about every 3 days for the pleco.

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Old 12-02-2019, 06:47 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Iron Precipitate

Looks like regular brown algae/diatoms to me. Snails, shrimps, otos, gara should clean them up.
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